Jews and Base­ball: Vol­ume 1, Enter­ing the Amer­i­can Main­stream, 1871 – 1948

Bur­ton A. Box­er­man and Beni­ta W. Box­er­man; Mar­tin Abramowitz, fwd.
  • Review
By – November 16, 2011

This book is a dou­ble or triple, not a home run. There are too many rou­tine errors— sev­en­ty eight dou­bles for Jon­ah Gold­man in 1930 would have been a big-league record, but the real total was eigh­teen. Sub­way Sam” Nahem becomes Broad­way Sam” in a cap­tion. The authors also have a ten­den­cy to gush: There’s noth­ing amaz­ing” about Mor­rie Arnovich hit­ting .324 in 1939 (fifth in the league), but the feat is described as such. And it’s prob­lem­at­ic to see Wikipedia cit­ed so often as a source in the Moe Berg arti­cle, par­tic­u­lar­ly since the myths sur­round­ing the catch­er-turned-spy are more than a lit­tle overblown. 

Still, there is no deny­ing the book’s appeal. The Box­er­mans have chased down some delight­ful­ly obscure char­ac­ters and made an effort to focus on all aspects of the game — play­ers, own­ers, jour­nal­ists, umpires, sta­tis­ti­cians. It is always great to see a con­cise descrip­tion of Hank Greenberg’s Hall of Fame career, but it’s also fas­ci­nat­ing to see how many play­ers worked so long and hard to play a mere hand­ful games in the majors— or even just one. The authors’ love of base­ball car­ries the day and makes this a worth­while read for fans of the sport. Bib­li­og­ra­phy, foot­notes, and index.

Oth­er Books in this Series

David Cohen is a senior edi­tor at Politi­co. He has been in the jour­nal­ism busi­ness since 1985 and wrote the book Rugged and Endur­ing: The Eagles, The Browns and 5 Years of Foot­ball. He resides in Rockville, MD.; his wife, Deb­o­rah Bod­in Cohen, writes Jew­ish children’s books.

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